I love a new year. It is like starting the first page of a brand new book waiting to be written; the story ready to go wherever you choose to take it.
Every year I spend some time in the lead up to the new year writing down my goals for the year ahead. It is something I have done since I was in school and it has always helped shape my priorities and direct my focus.
I am a firm believer in the power of goals and encourage everyone I work with to have their own goals they work towards. With goals you will be more motivated, focussed and experience a much greater sense of purpose and meaning.
I try to break my goals down in to 4 categories:
I also try to limit my goals in each category to three; any more than that and they become too vague.
Goals need to be actionable – this exercise is different to a dream board. In a seperate place I keep my big picture stuff – what I want to be doing in 10/20 years – but this is all about the year ahead, and creating goals that I can work towards and tick off at the end of the year.
They say that goals need to be S.M.A.R.T:
Specific: Your goals need to be clear and specific – they can’t be vague. For example, ‘getting a good ATAR’ is not specific enough – instead, break it down; you want a 85 average in English and an 80 in maths.
Measurable: Having a measurable goal allows you to track progress and stay motivated. For example, saying ‘I want to lose weight’ isn’t really measurable – but saying I want to lose 10kgs is.
Achievable: As I said above, this is about the year ahead – so having ‘become a millionaire’ is probably not achievable within the time period (unless you are sitting on a ton of money already…). Your goals need to take all things in to consideration, including the amount of time you can invest in to them.
Relevant: Your goals should be cohesive with all your other goals. For example, you can’t have a goal to play more video games and study more – these will work against each other. Your goals should align with who you are and your bigger picture dreams.
Timely: Goals need to be time bound – every goal needs to have a date in which they should be completed. In this situation that might be the end of the year, or it might be sooner if another goal is contingent upon it.
All goals have an element of difficulty to them, but some are definitely more challenging than others.
A relationship goal I have for next year is to make time for date night with my wife every week. This isn’t really that challenging, but I think it will be hard to prioritise it when things are busy and kids are noisy and all we want to do is stay in instead of going out.
Other goals, like business goals are much harder and will require day in, day out dedication to see them happen. Weight loss goals take daily discipline and hard work.
Before the new year comes around, set some SMART goals for yourself in each of the 4 categories (if you are in school, swap school in for career) and write them down somewhere you will see them regularly. Make the next year your best yet!